Annual Report 2020

Doctorate at Fraunhofer FHR 2020

Fraunhofer FHR offers scientists optimal conditions to write their dissertation at the institute. In doing so, the institute supports the employees in each case precisely tailored to their individual interests and paths to the doctorate. Two employees who completed their doctorates in 2020 report on their experiences.

Dr.-Ing. Fabio Giovanneschi

»Online Dictionary Learning for Classification of Antipersonnel Landmines Using Ground Penetrating Radar«

Dr. Fabio Giovanneschi began his work in the present-day Cognitive Radar (KR) department of Fraunhofer FHR in 2012. He had previously studied telecommunications engineering at the University of Pisa and then worked at an Italian company in the field of geophysics for two years. At Fraunhofer FHR, he was involved in anti-personnel mine classification using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). "I also became interested in the Compressive Sensing theory, which was relatively new at the time, and started to apply it to my work with GPR. I wanted to dedicate my PhD to this exciting new area."

Prof. Joachim Ender, who was head of the Institute at the time, was very interested in the topic, so Dr. Fabio Giovanneschi was accepted onto the PhD program at the Center for Sensor Systems at the University of Siegen (ZESS) in 2014, with Prof. Ender as the first supervisor of the PhD thesis. In the following years, however, he initially worked intensively on other KR projects as well as for the RAWIS (Radar Warning and Information System for Applications in Disaster Management) project at the University of Siegen. "I came into contact with Prof. Yonina Eldar from Technion Israel in 2016. A fruitful collaboration started on the basis of my idea to develop novel dictionary learning technology targeting a cognitive approach to the mine classification problem with GPR. This led to the publications which form the main contribution of my PhD thesis." Since completing his PhD, Dr. Fabio Giovanneschi has continued his research in dictionary learning and applied it to various radar applications, such as marine clutter suppression and LIDAR imaging.

"The collaboration with Prof. Ender is always motivating and inspiring to me. Moreover, Dr. Stefan Brüggenwirth as department head and Dr. Maria Antonia Gonzalez-Huici as team leader have always supported the research for my doctoral thesis. The colleagues in Wachtberg were also happy to engage with me and exchange ideas throughout all those years," Dr. Fabio Giovanneschi recalls.

Dr. Christoph Wasserzier

»Noise Radar on Moving Platforms«

After studying electronic engineering with a focus on information and communication technology at RWTH Aachen University, Dr. Christoph Wasserzier joined Fraunhofer FHR as a researcher in 2009. "At first, the doctorate was not my plan in the first place. Instead, I focused on exciting tasks in the present-day Passive Radar and Anti-Jamming Techniques (PSR) department, in areas where the publication of the research results is somehow difficult."

The idea to pursue a doctorate originated from a growing interest in the field of noise radar. "The topic has always seemed promising to me and has reached great potential in terms of its practical applicability enabled by recent technical developments. That was appealing to me."

Dr. Christoph Wasserzier attended the PhD program at the Tor Vergata University of Rome starting in 2016. He was supervised by Professor Gaspare Galati, who has a vast experience as a researcher in this field. He traveled to Rome particularly for block seminars, but a bulk of interaction with Professor Galati took place online. "The program's clear structure allowed me to work efficiently and to combine the doctorate and activities at the Institute smoothly. My team leader Josef Worms, Prof. Daniel O'Hagan as head of department and his predecessor Heiner Kuschel always supported my PhD. Many colleagues from PSR or the workshop helped actively, especially during field experiments."

Dr. Christoph Wasserzier developed a new, real-time capable method enabling future applications in noise radar. The demonstrator he implemented in order to experimentally prove the method was received with great interest. Subsequent uses included a NATO measurement campaign and it will continue to be used by PSR in the future. "Fraunhofer FHR provides the best conditions for successful research, not least due to the great infrastructure and equipment of the laboratories as well as the high level of technical competence of the employees. But the close collaboration with the Federal Armed Forces is what enabled the high quality of the results in the first place," he sums up the conditions of his PhD.